June 9, 2007 |
A Delaware Superior Court judge yesterday overturned the state's moratorium on horseshoe crabbing, and crabbers were expected to be back on the bay's beaches harvesting as early as today. The crabs have become a pivotal species in the fight to save the red knot, a shorebird that is sliding toward extinction and whose numbers on the bay this spring were at a low of 12,375. In 1989 they numbered about 95,000. Horseshoe crab eggs are a vital food for the birds, partway through the annual migration from their wintering grounds at the tip of South America to their breeding grounds in the Arctic.
June 5, 2012 |
At long last, there's reason to celebrate on the beaches of Delaware Bay. Shorebird scientists, who for a decade have feared they were watching an extinction in progress, saw things go right this year for a small shorebird called the red knot. For starters, the weather and the water stayed calm. So horseshoe crabs swarmed onto the beaches to spawn, leaving a banquet of fat-rich eggs in the sand. So the birds ate their fill, gaining strength to complete their 10,000-mile migration from the tip of South America to their nesting grounds in the Canadian Arctic.
June 8, 2005 |
Based on a sharp decline in a once-plentiful bird called the red knot - and a drop in the supply of their main food, horseshoe crab eggs - New Jersey and Delaware are poised to set new limits on the crab harvest in the Delaware Bay. Bradley M. Campbell, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, said yesterday that current restrictions on the harvest were apparently not enough to reverse the "alarming" downward trend...
January 16, 2006 |
Even as a diminished population of red knots winters in southern Chile, fattening up for the long migration north through the Delaware Bay, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has denied an emergency request by conservation activists to list the bird as endangered. The agency contended no emergency existed but is considering proposals to list the red knot on a nonemergency basis. Jamie Rappaport Clark, executive vice president of Defenders of Wildlife, one of the groups that sought the emergency listing, criticized the denial as a political decision, "pure and simple.
June 22, 2002 |
Larry Niles is following the birds - again. And he's got his digital camera with him so you can track his progress. Niles, who heads the state Department of Environmental Protection's Endangered and Nongame Species Program, is deep in the Arctic tundra looking for an intriguing species known as the red knot, which just a few weeks ago had stopped at the Delaware Bay on the way from Antarctica to the Arctic. It is the fourth year that Niles and other researchers have ventured into the wild to look for the tiny aviary puffs that weigh just a few ounces.
February 8, 2006 |
To help save the red knot, a small shorebird whose survival depends on horseshoe crab eggs, New Jersey has officially proposed halting all harvesting of horseshoe crabs for two years. If adopted, the moratorium would take effect in May, when the crabs come ashore on Delaware Bay beaches to lay their eggs. That's also when the tiny red knot is alighting, emaciated after a nonstop flight from Brazil and in need of the lipid-rich eggs. Biologists have blamed the bird's precipitous decline in the last decade on a reduction of crab eggs, caused by the crab harvest.
June 10, 2005 |
Concerned about the survival of the fragile red knot population, New Jersey officials yesterday issued an emergency order postponing the horseshoe crab harvest season for two weeks. The order gives the shorebirds more time to feed on crab eggs - a critical fuel for the birds, which stop each spring at Delaware Bay during a grueling flight from South America to the Arctic. Their arrival coincides with horseshoe crab spawning, but this spring the density of eggs reached an all-time low, according to researchers.
June 23, 2005 |
New Jersey's horseshoe crab harvest, halted two weeks ago on an emergency basis to give officials time to review crab census data, will reopen today. The moratorium was imposed June 10 out of concern for a small shorebird, the red knot, that depends on horseshoe crab eggs for its survival. At this time, "there are no planned actions to close the harvest" again, Karen Hershey, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Protection, said yesterday. She said officials were still reviewing data and would not be available to discuss them.
February 12, 2008 |
The New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council last night rejected a state proposal to indefinitely extend a moratorium on harvesting horseshoe crabs that was put in place two years ago in hope of reversing a dramatic decline in numbers of a migratory shore bird that some say is headed for extinction. Environmentalists said the council vote, taken in Batsto, Burlington County, after nearly two hours of appeals by birders and other advocates, further imperils the red knot, which stops every spring on Delaware Bay to refuel on crab eggs.
June 11, 2007 |
For 22 years, New Jersey biologist Larry Niles has attempted to plumb the secrets of a quarter-pound shorebird that has one of the longest migrations on the planet. He's wondering how much longer he has. This spring on Delaware Bay, the red knot, named for its russet breeding plumage, hit a new low in its slide toward extinction. Its numbers on the bay, where most of the population stops for about two weeks in late May, reached 12,375 - about a thousand fewer than last year and the lowest since Niles began counting.